A warm welcome to you into a new series coming to SmallWorld this summer. I’m calling it Power Rankings, because cREaTiVitY.
Each week during the summer soccer season, I’ll release a Power Rankings post that uses match results and my own opinion to determine the best teams in a particular division.
In the meantime before the season comes along, I wanted to do an edition that’s based solely on opinion and just plain guessing, because that’s all I have to go on at such an early stage.
This Way Too Soon Power Ranking will cover the USL League Two’s Deep South Division, which I definitely plan on covering during the summer (perhaps even in person for some matches!). I’m assuming that the Deep South has had its fill of expansion clubs by now, so this should be an accurate list of who’ll be in the division this summer.
Before we get started, make sure you voice your own opinion on SmallWorld Social! Give your own ranking on Twitter and Facebook or in the comments of this post. Enjoy!
1) South Georgia Tormenta (Statesboro, GA) – Tormenta 2 showed last year that they’re a force to be reckoned with, winning the division and scoring 10 goals in three national playoff matches. With the depth of Tormenta’s program extending both above and below this Tormenta 2 side, it would be no surprise for me to see the boys from Statesboro reach the pinnacle of the Deep South again in 2020 (and maybe even lift the national championship trophy!).
2) Charlotte Eagles (Matthews, NC) – The Eagles have a quality side that proved its ability to score in droves last year. However, they struggled to shore up the defense, giving up three or more goals seven times during the season. That’s a fixable issue, though, and I think the coaching staff in Charlotte is capable of making the changes needed to make the Eagles competitive for the title and a playoff position.
3) Dalton Red Wolves (Dalton, GA) – I watched a lot of Dalton’s matches in person last summer, and I saw a little bit of everything over the course of the Red Wolves’ season. There was quite a bit of talent in 2019’s squad, but it didn’t come together like it could have. The talent should still be there for Chattanooga Red Wolves’ affiliate, but I’m still not fully sold on their ability to gain enough coherency to challenge for the title.
4) SC United Bantams (Columbia, SC) – The Bantams finished second in the division last year and earned a playoff berth, but couldn’t get past a strong Brazos Valley side in the first round. They found a way to get a lot of quality results all year long, but they never really seemed dominant in many of those matches. If they keep the same ability to grind out victories this summer, they’ll be in the playoff conversation again, but my guess is that they’ll have a bit of a fall from grace this season.
5) Asheville City SC (Asheville, NC) – Asheville had a solid season last year in the NPSL, and it doesn’t quite seem fair to put them mid table here. It’s just a matter of other teams standing out to me a bit more for various reasons. There’s still plenty of reason for optimism in Asheville, as they’ve got a cool club and some good results from last year to build on. My biggest concern is how the transition to a new league will go. It’s hard to tell exactly what the difference in quality is between the leagues, if there is one at all. All that being said, it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me to see them on either extreme of the Deep South table at the end of the regular season.
6) Charlotte Independence (Charlotte, NC) – Having become enveloped in the Charlotte Independence Soccer Club a couple of months ago, the former Discoveries SC could be in for an overhaul this summer. The USL2 branch of the Independence may suffer from growing pains in its first season under the merger of a variety of local clubs, as there should be plenty of moving pieces to figure out and the success of the League Two side will most likely get the short end of the stick. That said, Discoveries was moderately successful last year, so if they have the right structure in place, the talent should be there to push for a national playoff spot.
7) East Atlanta FC (Conyers, GA) – Having played against some of the top high school talent in Conyers myself, I can attest to the fact that this is a good area of Atlanta to start a USL League Two club in. I have no doubts that the ability of the players will be there, but my concern is what the chemistry will be like in the team with an entirely new roster, coaching staff, etc. There’s potential here, but maybe not quite playoffs-in-the-first-year kind of potential.
8) Southern Soccer Academy Kings (Marietta, GA) – The Kings have done a lot right so far in getting their club started out of a youth academy. They gave their USL2 club a separate moniker, they’ve been fairly active on social media, and they have a large pool of players within their youth system to choose from. However, much like East Atlanta, I’m not sure they’ll be able to produce results in year one because of a lack of prior chemistry and club history. Being one of the closer clubs to me in terms of proximity, though, I’ll be hoping the Kings prove me wrong this summer.
9) Peachtree City MOBA (Peachtree City, GA) – Simply put, MOBA did not produce on the field in 2019. It’s not that the club doesn’t have talent, though the women’s soccer scene is probably stronger in Peachtree City than the men’s side. But something isn’t working for Peachtree City, and it’s not even close. It’ll take something special for MOBA to make a real impact on the Deep South table in my humble opinion.
That’s how my preseason predictions look for the order of the Deep South Division this summer! Again, let me know what your own thoughts are, and show your club some love if they were featured in the post! If your club hasn’t been on SmallWorld yet, let me know you’d like to see them in the future!
As always, just like I’ll be doing with many of these clubs this summer:
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